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Gloom Is Doomed

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Southern California is known the world over as the land of sunshine and endless summer, but you would never know it looking at the hazy days that have descended upon Ventura County’s coastline.

June gloom has arrived.

Indeed, gray clouds and fog shrouded much of the county’s coastline Wednesday. And meteorologist John Sherwin of WeatherData Inc. said the dreary weather is expected to continue through today.

“There will be more of the low clouds and fog, and some drizzle as well,” he said. “By afternoon it will be partly cloudy and partly sunny, with maybe an isolated shower off in the foothills.”

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But Sherwin said the thick marine layer should begin to burn off by Friday. Patchy fog will still hover over parts of the coast, but the weekend will be sunny and warmer. Temperatures in Simi Valley could be in the upper 80s by Sunday, he said.

June gloom is nothing new. It happens every year. And, Sherwin said, despite the El Nino weather phenomenon, this

year is no different.

“You can get it any time,” Sherwin said. “In May, July, August. It just rhymes with June. You can’t say May gloom.”

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The phrase was coined to describe the low morning clouds and fog that develop along the coast of California. Basically it is a Southern California term, Sherwin said.

Clouds and fog develop when prevailing winds push patches of saturated marine air inland where they are trapped by mountains surrounding the coastal area.

The marine layer can vary in thickness depending on the day. Several days ago it was 6,000 feet deep, Sherwin said. Wednesday it was closer to 1,000 feet deep.

On Wednesday, the county was blanketed in gray. Although usually visible from such vantage points as Grant Park in Ventura, the ragged silhouettes of Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands had disappeared in the fog. The Conejo Grade was invisible. And fingers of fog obscured the Topatopa Mountains.

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Sherwin said the fog is often particularly persistent in the coastal area around Ventura.

“The coastal area curves from Point Conception in Santa Barbara southward,” he said. “That coastline can cause circulation within the marine layer.”

That swirl of moisture is called the Catalina Eddy.

Despite the fog bank pressed against the coast Wednesday, dozens of surfers bobbed in the waves off California Street in Ventura while others strode along the promenade.

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“This time of year, this is what happens,” said Raul Escabar, a 10-year veteran lifeguard of Ventura’s coast. “I like it. It keeps things mellow.”

Maureen Crave, an avid gardener who lives on Silver Strand in Oxnard, says she thinks the fog is “neat.”

“It beats sweltering. It beats freezing cold,” she said. “It feels really good. It’s just kind of mystical to me.”


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